September 23, 2011


In Slate, Jacob Weisberg (who co-authored a book with Larry Summers' mentor Robert Rubin) is very upset about Ron Suskind's book that claims, based on interviews with Larry's rivals for Obama's attention, that Summers intellectually bullied Obama:
Once again, [Suskind's] work is strewn with small but telling errors. Here are a few: The Federal Reserve is a board, not a bureau (Page 7); Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was previously president, not "chairman," of the New York Fed (Page 56); he was, however, an undersecretary of the treasury, which Suskind makes a point out of saying he wasn't (Page 172); Horatio Alger was an author, not a character (Page 54); Gene Sperling didn't play tennis for the University of Michigan, because he went to the University of Minnesota (Page 215); the gothic spires of Yale Law School, built in 1931, are not "centuries old" (Page 250); Franklin D. Roosevelt did not say of his opponents, "I welcome their hate" (Page 235). What FDR said at Madison Square Garden in 1936, was "I welcome their hatred." That nuance wouldn't matter if it weren't such a famous line, but getting it wrong is the political equivalent of an English professor misquoting Hamlet's soliloquy.

Weisberg's article has this appended:
Correction, Sept. 22, 2011: Because of a production error, the article originally featured a photograph of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill with a caption identifying him as Ron Suskind.


Kylie said...

Slate is just following the lead of the "gaffetastic" One.

His latest is that America built the "Intercontinental Railroad". I wonder through how many of the 57 states does this railroad run?

Obama's latest gaffe

Anonymous said...

Unwittingly, Weisberg's highhanded bullying of Suskind gives us insight as to what may have transpired between Obama and Summers. Everytime Obama opened his mouth, Summers spoke volumes on how Obama got it all wrong and should just shut up and listen, as is to say, 'look, you play the know-it-all community organizer on the outside but behind closed doors, your affirmative action bulljive doesn't impress me. We chose you to look smart, not because you are smart.'

Anonymous said...

Obama is the

Boy of Summers.

And i can see you
your brown skin shining in the sun
you got your hair clipped short
halo over head, O-baby

And i can see that
his shove of you must have been strong
you are the boy of summers, you're done.

Anonymous said...

"His latest is that America built the 'Intercontinental Railroad'."

Maybe he means that's we need to build between US and Mexico to create jobs... though mostly for immigrants.

beowulf said...

Weisberg was co-author of Robert Rubin's memoirs (and of course Summers was Rubin's Deputy Tsy Sec before taking over). Suskind makes it pretty clear that Rubin lobbied hard for Obama to hire Summers and Geithner and to keep Paul Volcker away from power.

On a completely unrelated note, boy it sure worked out for Citigroup that the Obama Admin bailed them out. If the FDIC had taken it over, its shareholders would have been wiped out!
Rubin to quit Citigroup after 10 yearsk
January 10 2009

That Jacob Weisberg would have the balls to write such a half-assed attack on a reporter simply for making his patron look like a Russian mafia boss is pathetic. Look, no one wants you to give the money back Jacob but at least have the decency to keep your mouth shut (unless this is what the money was for).

Anonymous said...

But is a production error the same thing as author error?

Tavis Smiley said...

Larry Summers is likely a high IQ but social autistic who just cannot grasp the logical inconsistencies of PC dogma.

I wonder if he looked upon Obama as he did Cornel West.

West, who has worked in Harvard's Afro-American studies department, said his departure was the result of the university picking on the "wrong Negro." West was involved in a dispute in January with Harvard president and former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who admonished West for a variety of perceived offenses.

Summers accused West of inflating student grades, and criticized West for taking part in the recording of a self-described "hip-hop" CD, for pushing Al Sharpton's presidential campaign and for writing what Summers deemed pop culture books instead of academic books.

An outraged West announced that he felt "attacked and insulted" and would not tolerate "disrespect."

"[Summer's] attack on me was the wrong person, wrong professor and the wrong Negro, as it were. There is a certain level of respect that I require," West said on Monday's "The Tavis Smiley Show" on National Public Radio. West called Summers' criticism an "attack on me" and referred to Summers as "the Ariel Sharon of American higher education," a reference to the hard-line Israel Prime Minister.

"[Summers] acts like a bull in a china shop; he acts like a bully in a very delicate and dangerous situation," West explained to Smiley.

Winston said...

Ann Curry on NBC Early Morning said that Press Sec Jay Carney feels that Suskind's error stating that the Dow fell 378 points one day rather than the actual 384 (a 1.5 % error) invalidates the book. This doesn't bother me but on page 70, the books states a deal was "stuck", rather than "struck."
Now that is something I won't up with put!

Marlowe said...

Slate employs a better fact checker than Suskind's publisher.

Anonymous said...

Summers had the courage to smack down Cornel West for producing nothing of any academic merit, like most AA studies profs.

Weisberg's minor critiques, followed by the conclusion that Suskind must be all wrong is a conflated non sequitur of the greatest proportions.

Anonymous said...

Rise of the Planet of the Apple.

Kylie said...

@ Winston

Feeling pretty frisky, eh? Glad to see your black dog is not hounding you.

josh said...

"I welcome their hatred'. I thought that was Kim Kardashian...

helene edwards said...

"[Summers] acts like a bull in a china shop; he acts like a bully in a very delicate and dangerous situation," West explained to Smiley

Translation: "the whole point of being black is that you're immune to being called on the carpet by anyone white. We thought we had established this with our riots in the period '67 through '92. Summers is apparently so immersed in economic theory that he just doesn't get the concept of black exemption. Only a nerd would be this obtuse."

Anonymous said...

"Rise of the Planet of the Apple."

If GOP had any sense, they would learn the primary lesson from the above article. There is a huge divide within blue states between hard working middle class(and lower rich) and the super rich class.

If GOP dumps the superrich and instead appeals to working class, middle class, and low-rich, they have a winning formula. Most middle class Americans don't resent the low-rich small businessmen. They hate Wall Street crooks, golden parachute CEO a-holes, and etc.

Playing this divide could be the greatest boon for the GOP since Nixon's Southern Strategy.

But GOP dummies keep speaking up for the superrich... most of whom are like Bloomberg, Buffett, and Soros. Morons.

Kylie said...

@ helene edwards

Love it!

An alternate translation for that last line "Only a nerd would be this obtuse" is "Only a cracka would be this obtuse."

Anonymous said...

"[Summers] acts like a bull in a china shop; he acts like a bully in a very delicate and dangerous situation," West explained to Smiley"

My translation:

He doesn't realize how much he's endangering himself. He's skating on "delicate", thin ice, messing with a black academic. He could end his career doing that. Don't mess with a lawsuit slinging blackman or you're branded for life.

Anonymous said...

Bullying? Not a lavender drama, I hope?

Anonymous said...

the whole point of being black is that you're immune to being called on the carpet by anyone white

Anyone white?

If it really came to that Summers would play his winning hand - the J-card.

Anonymous said...

I think when Obama won in 2008, he really saw himself as the man of destiny. He saw his win as a mandate, Dems gained more in congress, experts said the realingnment was permanent, it was a new era, economy was gonna turn around with stimulus, and his charisma and presence was really gonna change the world. And stimulus was gonna work and he was gonna win ever bigger in 2012.
Promoted as a rockstar/moviestar, he saw his presidency as a kind of movie. He thought he'd be the liberal Reagan, the fulfilment of Kennedy and King who were cut short in the 60s. And the Boomer generation saw him as the realization of their lost dreams. But reality is something else.

Anonymous said...

>GOP dummies keep speaking up for the superrich... most of whom are like Bloomberg, Buffett, and Soros.<

Well, you dance with the one who brung ya.

At least GOP dummies STAY bought.

Anonymous said...

>the Boomer generation saw him as the realization of their lost dreams. But reality is something else.<

And now many of them are disappointed. Times change: soon we'll be saying goodbye to all that. The sooner, the better.

NOTA said...


Yeah, you can sure see how the Dems are dumping on their big money backers. Why, the way they nationalized Goldman and Citigroup proved that, to say nothing of the way they had the CEOs of the mortgage companies and banks hauled off in irons for massive and systematic document forgery. Similarly, they didn't stay bought by the defense contractors either--those faithless bastards pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as the checks cleared, and stopped bombing third world peasants with million dollar missiles, too. And the way they turned on the telecom companies, both in terms of regulation and in terms of letting them be sued for breaking wiretapping laws, man, that was just mean. And did you see the way they heartlessly refused to pour more money down the security theater toilet by, say, putting million dollar a pop porno scanners in every airport?

I can't argue with you. The Democrats are completely different from the Republicans here.

NOTA said...


If this were a good strategy, it seems like it would be being done. My guess is that while it might be a winning strategy at a national politics level, it works out poorly for individual politicians and policy people:

a. Political campaigns need money, especially when the politician is unknown.

b. Policy thinkers often work at think tanks, which are funded by the very rich, and which definitely have ideological limits. The populist appeals may play well to voters, but if you want the de facto safety net of a job at Heritage or American Enterprise when you or your boss lose the election, you may not want to be too economically left-leaning.

c. Big media companies are owned by large companies whose owners will not be too excited to see populist anger at the very rich turn into redistribution kind of talk. How do you build a movement on the right when Fox (alongside CNN, MSNBC, Clear Channel, and the TV networks) decide you will get no good coverage?

Anonymous said...

First, he got pushed around by Summers. And then by Netanhayu. Afrisma may sell outdoors but chutzpah rules behind-doors.